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Types of Assault Charges in New York (2024)

Types of Assault Charges in New York (2024)

Whether you are accused of misdemeanor assault or felony assault, it is important to have legal representation in court. Any level of assault could result in serious penalties, like jail time, prison sentences, or heavy fines. If you were accused of hitting someone or threatening violence, you should know the various types of assault charges in New York.

Types of Assault Charges in New York

What Are the Classifications for Assault in New York?

New York classifies assaults into three categories. The severity of the criminal charge depends on the intent of the defendant, the severity of the injury, and the presence of aggravating factors, like weapons.

  • Assault in the First Degree: Assault in the first degree in New York is a serious criminal charge. It involves using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to intentionally cause serious physical injury to another person. This Class B felony carries the potential penalty of years in prison, depending on the circumstances of the case, the presence of aggravating factors, and the defendant’s prior criminal history. The charge is reserved for the most severe cases of physical harm inflicted intentionally or with extreme disregard for human life.
  • Assault in the Second Degree: Assault in the second degree is a lesser but still serious crime. The charge is classified as a violent felony offense. Defendants are usually deemed to have intended to cause serious physical injury.
  • Assault in the Third Degree: Assault in the third degree (a Class A misdemeanor) results when the defendant causes physical injury to someone. A common scenario is when someone punches another person a few times (causing substantial pain, like bruising or minor bleeding) but no lasting harm.

An assault charge on your criminal record could lead to professional and personal setbacks. You may find it much harder to find employment with an assault conviction.

Possible Defenses Against Assault Charges

Several legal defenses can be used against assault charges. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney can make the legal argument that you were acting in self-defense. However, the use of force must be proportional to the level of perceived threat.

If the alleged victim was making threats or acted as the aggressor, an act of self-defense may be justifiable, given the circumstances. The actions you took could also have been made to defend the safety of others.

New York residents also have the right to defend their property if they believe that it is at risk of being stolen or damaged. Taking action to stop a burglar or perceived burglar would be one example.

Criminal intent also has a role in assault allegations. One defense could be that you did not intend to harm the victim. Mistaken identity could also be used to defend against an accusation of assault.

If the defendant can provide an alibi witness who can give testimony or written statements that the defendant was elsewhere when the crime occurred, that could undermine the prosecution’s case and place the burden on the state to prove that the alibi witness is not being truthful.

Another argument that could provide mitigating circumstances to the criminal case would be if the defendant suffered from a mental health disorder or was temporarily insane at the time the offense occurred.

A criminal defense attorney can explore these and other defenses to potentially weaken the state’s case, calling into question the assumptions made by prosecutors in pursuing a case of assault.


Q: What Are the Different Levels of Assault in New York?

A: The three different types of assault in New York are assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the third degree. Assault in the third degree is the lowest-level offense of the three and a Class A misdemeanor.

Assault in the second degree is a Class D felony. The most serious level of assault is assault in the first degree, which is reserved for acts that endanger someone’s life.

Q: What Is a Simple Assault Charge in New York?

A: Although the term simple assault is not referenced in the state’s penal code, it generally refers to assault in the third degree, which is the lowest-level form of assault.

Anyone convicted of this crime could spend time in jail. Other court-ordered penalties, like probation, fines, and community service, can also be ordered for anyone guilty of this offense.

Q: What Is the Lowest Form of Assault Charge?

A: Assault in the third degree is the lowest form of assault in New York. Under state law, this classification of assault is a Class A misdemeanor, defined as the act of causing physical injury to someone. The intent to harm is an important element of any assault charge. Generally, these acts of violence result in harm but no long-term damage. Assault in the third degree may result in bruises, minor bleeding, and other short-term injuries.

Q: How Long Do You Go to Jail for Assault in New York?

A: The length of time that you may go to jail for assault in New York depends on the type of crime that you are charged with and other factors, such as your criminal history or lack of criminal history.

Generally, people who are first-time offenders and commit the lowest level of assault are the most likely to avoid jail time. You can improve the chances that you do not have to serve time by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can work to lower the penalties that you are facing.

Schedule Your Criminal Defense Consultation Today

Any assault charge could lead to serious, life-changing consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can look for ways to reduce the penalties you are facing.

The team at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can work to protect your rights as your case moves forward. We have represented many clients who were charged with assault and helped them achieve favorable outcomes.

If you were charged with causing physical harm to someone, don’t delay finding legal representation. Contact our office today to schedule your criminal defense consultation.

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